I placed my annual Grand National bet on Saturday and, continuing an inglorious tradition, I lost. I'm not a gambler, viewing betting as basically a mugs game, but since I was a kid I have always placed a bet on the Grand National. After years of picking a horse randomly, based on which name stood out most I had never won a bet, or even placed to the best of my knowledge. It's actually getting a little annoying.
Last year I altered my strategy, I just randomly picked a horse whose odds were around 25 to 1 and also bet on one of the favorites. Again a dismal failure, but to rub salt into the wound the horse I had initially selected, using my previous strategy, won. So I altered the system again. I decided I should ask the one man I know who follows the horses for his advice. A few horses got mentioned but I settled on Ross Comm and Haute De Gamme as my two each-way bets for this year.
I was full of confidence as I placed the €10 bets. I couldn’t loose. Both horses were reported as having a chance and so long as one of them made it into the first 5 I should at least break even. Easy money I thought... unfortunately not.
Ross Comm put in a brave show full of eagerness and energy. In fact so keen was he that he caused a false start. Perfect, I thought, he'll give the others a run for their money. Springing into an early lead and leaving the other horses in his dust. He fell at the 4th!
So now I was left with Haute De Gamme as my sole interest in the National. Unfortunately as the race progressed I began to doubt that he had even made the starting line. There was not a mention of him. I wandered over to the newspaper page on the wall of the bookies to join the other new betters checking their horses colours. Black with light blue stripes. I looked at the screen with a reduced number of runners still in the race, no sign of him. Wait, did the commentator just mention him? Yes he did, I was sure of it. So Haute must still be in the race.
The other horses were dropping like flies so I figured he was bound to make it to the top 5. Maybe he was in 6th? The commentator was only calling out the top 5 and the last runner so I couldnt tell what other horses were in the race. One faller could be all that stood between me and an end to my Grand National curse. As the race drew to a conclussion there was still no mention of Haute de Gamme and no sign of the black and light blue colors. As the field strung out it began to dawn on me that unless several horses did a Devon Locke on it I wasnt getting my money back. In fact if Haute De Gamme was still in this race he must be in the pits getting refueled or something.
Finally the race ended and the results were announced. Haute De Gamme was not one of the 9 finishers. I went home wondering if he had even started. Yesterdays Sunday Times and the BBC then informed me that he had started but had fallen at the 20th fence, which was probably when the commentator mentioned him.
There ends another Grand National. Next year I think I'll throw a dart at a newspaper and bet on which ever horse it hits.